Pearl is an eight-year-old mare. Her dam was Ruby; her sire was Stampinkid. Stampinkid was 5/8 Arabian 3/8 Saddlebred. After training both Ruby and Pearl as three-year-olds, I sold them to a friend. Now they are back for a refresher course.
I trained Ruby as a three-year-old before I started blogging. Pearl’ s training is recorded in this blog. It was helpful to go back and look at what Pearl had accomplished. I didn’t have the same luxury for Ruby–no log to revisit. I don’t really remember anything about training except that I thought she would be a calm, steady, reliable horse.
Last night I left them in the stall. This morning when I went out to move them Pearl was polite and allowed me to halter her immediately. Ruby was panicky and didn’t want me to catch her. She was moving too quickly and slamming around for such a little space. This is dangerous. I did not wait until later in the day as usual. When I finally did catch her at 6:30 AM I brought her right out to the round pen to begin her training. I wanted to nip those shenanigans in the bud.
The idea is if they want to run away, you allow them to run away. In fact you encourage them or even force them. I could see that Ruby remembered this experience in the round pen before. She quickly exhibited all the body language of submission: licking, chewing and lowering her head. When she finally stood for me I groomed her and put the blanket on her back. When I brought out the saddle she ran from me. I ask my horses to stand without being tied to receive the tack. It took almost a half an hour of round penning before she received the saddle.
When she finally stood solid, I put the saddle on and off several times. I turned her both ways on the long line. I got on bareback. She responded just fine, moving lightly in both directions.
This afternoon I took out Pearl. I took her through the same training exercise as Ruby. She stood for the saddle immediately. I hardly did any round penning, just a couple of circles around me. She remembered all my cues from five years ago. Perhaps she’s been in the round and with someone else but they wouldn’t have the same verbal cues and body language. She was more jittery than Ruby but she accomplished everything right away. Ruby was more afraid at the outset and she worked up quite a sweat during the round penning but once she stood solid for the saddle she wasn’t jittery. She was back to her old self–a calm, steady horse.